As part of the BetterTogether Challenge, also known as JuntosEsMejor, Premise Data collects information from four different states across Venezuela (Caracas, Miranda, Zulia and Tachira). The aim is to provide real-time information around basic needs and services to NGOs based in Venezuela to create a common operating picture to more effectively plan and target resources. This is all the more important since the current political climate makes it increasingly difficult for local and international aid organizations to collect this type of information themselves.
Besides providing information to our partner organizations, we also wanted to understand what effect Premise was having on our contributors’ lives. In the past 6 months, around 3,600 Venezuelans (about 40% of our contributors in Venezuela) have participated in tasks related to the challenge in Miranda, Tachira, Zulia and Distrito Capital.
On August 5th, 2020, we launched an Impact Survey to gain better insights into how users utilized the app and the earnings they obtained via the platform. To date, we have received 1,455 submissions across the four states currently participating in the project, with a 50/50 gender split between respondents.
Using Premise to Explore and Learn About Community and Local Issues
Premise not only collects sentiment but also tasks contributors to explore their communities and report on specific aspects of them. For example, in the challenge, one of the tasks requests contributors to report on public water sources. To complete the task, contributors will venture out into the community, find a public water source, take a photo, and geolocate it. They also answer a few questions about the specific item they found. The Impact Survey provided insights into how people feel about their community after completing these tasks. Overall the results indicate it is a positive experience for our users and serves as a learning tool about issues within their community.
- About 23% responded that they have actively participated in the tasks involving identifying and reporting public water sources in their community.
- At least 12% identified a public water source that can be life-saving in case of water shortage in their community.
- About 20% have reported locations of food markets and grocery stores.
- Around 10% have identified pharmacies, healthcare facilities, gas stations and other critical aspects to their community, like electricity towers.
Additionally, some of the open text responses provided interesting qualitative insights on how contributors feel they are learning more about their community:
“I have responded to surveys and at the same time learned a lot about COVID-19” – Female contributor from Distrito Capital metropolitan area (26-35 years old)
“I have learned new roads and paths within my community” – Male contributor from rural Zulia (16-25 years old)
Premise significantly reduced the number of tasks requesting users to venture outside of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic to comply with local mandates requiring social distancing. In fact, 79% of the respondents said that they have mainly completed survey tasks during the past six months. However, 68% of users have been using the app more during the COVID-19 pandemic due to reduced out-of-home activities.
Engaging the Community with Premise
One key aspect that we previously identified from the overall surveys for the challenge is the positive change in the engagement level of contributors in Venezuela (more users responding more frequently to tasks and recurring surveys). As a result, we wanted to understand if there is a particular reason behind the acceleration in the response rate. The survey explored the sentiments around “feeling heard” and “Premise as a tool for positive impact in the community.” Two key insights:
- Premise allows users to make their voices and opinions heard on issues in their community (77% agreed or strongly agreed).
- Premise has had a positive impact on their communities (72% agreed or strongly agreed).
Some quotes from the qualitative responses include comments that support this finding:
“I have learned that I can have an impact in my community through Premise” – Male contributor from Zulia city center (36-45 years old)
We learned that once a contributor understands the benefits of participating in Premise, they typically recommend the app to friends and family. We found out that many of our contributors using the app learned about the app through word of mouth.
- 76% of users have invited a family member or friend to use Premise.
- 44% have heard of Premise through word of mouth.
Providing Additional Income and Financial Inclusion Through Premise
Contributors receive a financial incentive for each task completed and accepted through the Premise app. Venezuelans are finding Premise as a way to not only provide their opinions and enrich their knowledge about their community but also a new way to supplement their income and support their livelihoods. The survey results showed that:
- 84% said that Premise is “somewhat or very important” for their weekly earnings.
- 64% have said that Premise is even more important during COVID.
- 74% said it is “difficult or very difficult” to find employment in their area.
- 33% of contributors use their Premise earnings on goods and services they need right away, such as food, electricity and fuel, while26% primarily spend it on their families and 22% spend it on their future (like saving for an important life event or an emergency)..
- 60% said there are no other opportunities for gig work in their community and 30% said gig work jobs exist, but there are very few.
The comments in the qualitative section of the survey mentioned how Premise has positively impacted several contributor’s livelihoods.
“I perceive Premise as a very positive experience, it has given me a small income and hope” – Female contributor from peri-urban Zulia (16-25 years old)
“My opinion counts and the money I received I spent it on food” – Female contributor from Miranda metropolitan area (26-35 years old)
“I was able to buy some medicines as a result of the earnings from the app” – Male contributor from Distrito Capital (36-45 years old)
Due to the different payment options that the Premise app provides, many Venezuelans are also learning about new payment providers and are increasing their financial literacy. One clear example is the number of contributors reporting that they are learning about cryptocurrencies and pricing trends and volatility within their communities.60% had never used cryptocurrency before using our app
We are continually working to understand our contributor network’s experiences and how their involvement in the app results in positive outcomes for themselves and their communities.
If you would like to learn more about how Premise can help you gather the data you need, feel free to reach out at [email protected]
Premise was selected as a grant recipient to help provide innovative solutions to the humanitarian crisis that has been compounded by COVID-19 in Venezuela, as part of the JuntosEsMejor Challenge funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
We are currently collaborating with international experts on information management in the humanitarian space, as well as Code for Venezuela, a technology non-profit formed by the Venezuelan diaspora focused on solving Venezuela’s most pressing needs. Our goal is to collect up-to-date data for international and national non-governmental organizations that would help them make more informed decisions and better basic services to Venezuelans. We will continue to share more insights and stories about our work on this project.